Hail, floods, fire, 2013 got off to a troubled start

The year started with freeze concerns for California's citrus growers, the majority of the fruit was still on the trees and susceptible to damage. In Florida the industry was predicting, "The worst citrus production climate in 40 years," with volumes down by 40-60%.

In January NatureSweet announced plans to take over EuroFresh Farms after the company had filed for bankruptcy.

January also saw the launch of a brand new website in the FreshPlaza Group, www.Hortidaily.com the newswebsite for horticultural news.

January was not the best month for grape growers in the southern hemisphere, Chile was plagued by rain and send a lot less to the US with loading down 30%. South African grapes were also hit by rain causing losses, meanwhile California had seen a record year.

South Africa was under pressure again when renewed strikes by workers, saw violence spread through the fruit growing regions. The situation worsened when a warehouse and vineyards were set on fire right in the middle of the stone fruit season. The strikes and violence were finally called off when said it would announce a new minimum wage to come into force in March.

In the Middle East snow, rain and hail was making a very unusual appearance. In Israel the rain, hail and wind effected production. In some places 250 ml of rain h fell in five days, this is half of what normally falls in a year.

Argentina saw one producer say it was the worst cherry season in 20 years. Australia had a bumper stone fruit season while late frosts and rain during harvesting caused serious damage to the New Zealand cherry crop. Tazmania finally got permission to send cherries to Taiwan.

The Australian region of Queensland was devastated by floods for second time in two years, many horticultural areas were again affected.

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